Tax exemptions for
the working class, not for local capitalists and foreign monopolies
By Bukluran ng Manggagawang
September 20, 2015
QUEZON CITY – A militant
labor group is calling on organized labor to rally behind the proposed
measures by Rep. Quimbo and Sen. Angara that would raise the ceiling
of tax exemptions. Angara’s bill, in particular, aims to exempt
monthly incomes of below P88,000 from tax obligations.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang
Pilipino (BMP) argued that, “The proposed tax exemption would result
into the much-needed increase in take-home pay for wage and salaried
workers who earn more than the atrociously-low minimum wage and are
not covered by the orders of the regional wage boards since their
creation in 1989. But more importantly, it is the height of injustice
that the Philippine government could afford billions in tax breaks and
incentives to foreign multinational monopolies – as cited by Sen.
Angara and Rep. Neri Colmenares”.
They likewise complained
that despite obvious bias of the Aquino administration, “it has the
gall to complain of the P30 billion that would be reduced from the
nation’s coffers due to the Angara-Quimbo bill – as alleged by the
“The proposals would not
cause a big loss in the tax base for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
since the increase in take-home pay will spur consumption and increase
the collections for the value-added tax,” Leody De Guzman, chairperson
of BMP disputed.
He further explained that,
“The proposal is a step towards the reform of the present regressive
taxation system, which operates under the principle: “those should who
have less in life should have more in taxes”. At its present
structure, the tax burden is borne more by workers whose wages have
automatic deductions for withholding taxes than by corporations that
have access to various legal means of tax avoidance both to their
corporate incomes and properties – contrary to the Constitutional
policy for a “progressive taxation system”.
The militants believe that
the workers deserve a reprieve from almost six years of hardship under
the neoliberal and elitist regime of Noynoy Aquino.
De Guzman pointed out that,
“Despite its anti-corruption rhetoric, which is but a pretense to
attack its rivals in the political opposition, public funds are still
use to enrich those who are in power. As long as billions of state
funds are lost to corruption, taxpayers – especially the working class
who are the most tax-compliant sector of Philippine society – have
every right and reason to call for less taxes, or even for a tax
“From whence do all taxes
come from? It is from the collective toil of millions of workers. Yes,
all taxes, in general. Not just the deductions for withholding taxes
to already starvation wages but also taxes to corporate income and
property as well. In the production of goods and services being bought
and sold at the market, workers create not just the commodity but also
its value. They add to the existing value of materials and tools used.
This “value-added” is the well-spring of wages, profit, rent, interest
– all of which are subject to tax. Hence, wages should be tax-exempt
not just because it is below the Constitutionally-mandated living
wage. More so, since the taxes paid by employers, bankers, and
landlords come from the surplus value that was created by labor but
unpaid by capital,” he continued.
“But lest we be charged of
rescinding from our obligations to the national interest, labor must
declare that it has no obligation to fund a capitalist state that is
not only a coercive watchdog of the propertied elite but also as an
absentee government that has abandoned the needs of its own citizenry
to serve the local oligarchs and their foreign masters through its
pursuit of the policies of liberalization, deregulation,
privatization, and contractualization. Tax the rich, not the poor!”
the veteran labor leader concluded.
NPA rebel in
Eastern Samar surrenders, yields firearm
By DPAO, 8ID PA
September 17, 2015
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) voluntarily
surrendered to the joint elements of 14th Infantry (AVENGER) Battalion
and Intelligence Unit at Barangay Vigan, General MacArthur, Eastern
Samar on September 15, 2015.
In a report from Colonel
Perfecto M. Rimando, 801st Brigade Commander, the NPA surrenderee was
identified as Romeo Belarmente @ Ogaya/Vic/Romy member of Section
Committee South East of Sub Regional Committee ”SESAME”, Eastern
Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC).
The rebel, who yielded one
(1) Ingram (Shooter Brand) bearing serial number 167297 and one
magazine loaded with 16 9mm ammunition surrendered around 8:05 P.M.
Tuesday and is now undergoing custodial debriefing.
The surrenderee will avail
the Comprehensive Local Social Integration Program (CLIP) wherein he
will receive initial P15,000.00 immediate cash assistance and
P50,000.00 livelihood assistance after the documentation and
livelihood seminar program which will be facilitated by the Department
of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The rebel decided to
surrender following realization that fighting the government and
enduring hard life in the mountains are a lost cause.
Major General Jet B.
Velarmino, Commander 8ID, lauded the effort of the troops in Eastern
Samar for a job well done. Further, he reiterated that surrender is a
clear victory for the people of Eastern Samar who yearn for peace and
desire to live peacefully and lawfully.
Navy and DENR seize illegally cut lumber
By DPAO, 8ID PA
September 17, 2015
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – Army troops under 78th Infantry Battalion, 53rd Engineering
Brigade, Philippine Navy and personnel from Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 8 conducted a joint anti-illegal
logging operation that confiscated 1,398 board feet of Lawaan Lumber
at Barangay Villa Corazon, Burauen, Leyte on September 16, 2015.
In a report from Lt. Col.
Allan Jose L. Taguba, Commanding Officer of the 78th Infantry
Battalion, DENR Region 8 headed by Kenneth Yves Salon, Forester
Management 1 made coordination with 78th IB to assist them in
confiscating the illegally cut lumber. The forest products, upon
confiscation, were transported at DENR Region 8 in Brgy Candahog,
Palo, Leyte for custody and proper disposition.
It can be recalled that the
government is pushing the intensive joint anti-illegal logging
operation in a landslide prone province of Southern Leyte last month
that netted 1,419 board feet of Lawaan lumber.
The accomplishments are
results of the Command’s convergence efforts with various stakeholders
throughout Eastern Visayas where the Army has set focus more on
non-traditional role of assisting other government agencies to enforce
Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino,
8ID Commander, lauded the joint anti-illegal logging operations of the
Army, the Philippine Navy and DENR in enforcing environmental laws.
Further, he reiterated that 8ID under his Command will continue to
support the DENR in implementing its environmental protection
Brigade in Samar has new commander
By DPAO, 8ID PA
September 15, 2015
CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN,
Catbalogan City – The Philippine Army installed Col. Perfecto M.
Rimando as the new Commander of 801st Infantry Brigade in a Change-
of-Command Ceremony held at Camp Daza, Brgy Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar
on September 14, 2015.
Col. Rimando succeeded BGen.
Leoncio A. Cirunay Jr., who assumed the position as Commander of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command. He took over the helm
of an Army unit that covers the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar.
Prior to taking the helm of
801st Infantry Brigade, Col. Rimando was the Chief of Philippine Army
Human Rights Office (PAHRO) based in Ft Bonifacio, Metro Manila.
The installation of Rimando
was presided by Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino, Commander of the 8th
Infantry Division, Philippine Army. It was also attended by Ms. Imelda
Bonifacio, OPAPP Area Manager; Hon. Arman Sevillano, Brgy Chairman of
Fatima; Mr. Jun Arcenio, Philippine Information Agency- Samar; and
Rev. Fr. Jester Jake Yboa, Parish Priest St. Anthony De Padua.
Col. Rimando vowed to
continue to support the initiatives of the local government units and
closely collaborate with the stakeholders in line with the AFP
Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan”.
“I can still remember when I
first set foot on the island of Samar 29 years ago as a platoon
leader, and now I am here again as a brigade commander and have
noticed many changes and improvements through the years. I am grateful
to be here once again to do the task and mission that our people and
our country expect from me,” said Rimando.
MGen Velarmino in his
message acknowledged the contribution of BGen Cirunay to the relative
peace that Samar and Eastern Samar provinces are now experiencing, at
the same time, he challenged Rimando to continue the plans and
programs initiated by his predecessor that fit the current situation
and work hard towards the realization of “Insurgency Free” Samar and
Eastern Samar provinces.
“I commend BGen. Cirunay for
his immeasurable contributions to the accomplishments of 8ID mission.
With Col. Rimando as the new Commander of 801st Infantry Brigade, I
know it is in good hands and with his past experiences in this area
and support of the men and women of the 801st Brigade, I expect him to
perform well. My guidance is stay healthy, take care of your men, know
your job and do it well and lastly, never forget to pray before you
sleep in service for our country and people,” said Velarmino.
Col. Reymondo Delgado (2nd from right) with the staff of
Philippine Red Cross-Ormoc City Chapter headed by Nepthel
Remulta (5th from left) after the bloodletting activity at 19IB
Camp in Kananga, Leyte.
19IB, Red Cross
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
September 13, 2015
KANANGA, Leyte – In celebration of the National Peace Consciousness
Month this September, 19th Infantry Battalion conducted a bloodletting
activity at its headquarters in partnership with the Philippine Red
Cross - Ormoc City Chapter on Saturday, September 12, 2015.
The activity started with a short program around 9:00 o’clock in
morning where Nepthel Remulta, PRC medical technologist briefed around
70 would-be donors on the importance of blood donation.
Almost fifty per cent of the would-be donors are soldiers of 19IB,
while the rest comprised of personnel from Ormoc City Police Office (OCPO),
Coast Guard District Eastern Visayas (CGDEV), Kananga Municipal Police
Station, Finest Guardians International Contingent Incorporated,
peoples organizations and even farmers from nearby barangays of
Kananga and Ormoc City.
As the activity ends around 12:00 midday, 22,950 cc whole blood was
collected. It turned out that 51 individuals were successfully
extracted with blood at 450 cc each. Others failed in the
pre-screening and interview due to illness such as cough, colds and
menstruation to some female donors.
According to Remulta, Ormoc City has an average blood requirement of
450 bags monthly. This is because one patient, especially those
undergoing surgical operations would usually need more than two bags
at a time.
19IB had been conducting bloodletting activities with Philippine Red
Cross - Ormoc City Chapter for over six years.
“In behalf of the Philippine Red Cross, we thanked the 19th Infantry
Battalion for spearheading the bloodletting event and for spreading
public awareness on its importance”, Remulta said.
On his part, Lt. Col. Reymondo Delgado, Acting Commanding Officer of
19IB lauded the Philippine Red Cross for its incessant advocacy on
saving lives through giving blood. He also thanked all individuals and
organizations who supported the peace initiative of the battalion.
Chiz to NTC: Come
up with new guidelines for acceptable internet speed, cost
By Office of Senator Chiz
September 13, 2015
PASAY CITY – Instead of merely testing Internet speeds, the
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should conduct an audit
to assess the coverage and quality of service of telecommunications
companies (telcos) to pressure them into making Internet access faster
and cheaper, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said.
Escudero made the call as the NTC prepares to carry out a speed test
this month to determine if telcos are true to their advertised
audit is necessary to determine the gravity of the problem of slow
Internet connection in the country. This will become the basis for NTC
to come up with new guidelines on acceptable speed and cost that
telcos are duty-bound to follow,” Escudero said.
The new guidelines should
effectively compel the telcos to invest in infrastructure and
technologies development so they can deliver faster data connection to
Escudero said the problem of
pathetic Internet speed and service in the Philippines could be easily
addressed if telcos are forced by law to set aside a portion of their
huge revenues for better network infrastructure.
Citing an NTC study, one of
the biggest telcos in the Philippines said $16.6 billion, or around
P750 billion, is needed to bring 2 megabits per second download speeds
to 80 percent of Philippine households by 2016.
“The telcos have been
reaping billions of pesos in profits at the expense of their
subscribers, who continue to complain about the slow and expensive
data services they provide,” Escudero pointed out.
“I think it is more than
fair and reasonable to compel telcos to spend on the necessary
infrastructure expansions and upgrades that will allow them to provide
some real service to individuals and industries that need reliable
data connections,” he said.
Escudero said the NTC, as
the agency that regulates and supervises the telecommunications
sector, should make sure that the data experience meets the
requirements and expectations of the country’s Internet users, who are
now close to 40 million.
“If we want to sustain the
growth momentum of the economy, particularly the BPO industry, we need
to have the infrastructures to deliver reliable and high-quality
Internet services,” the senator said.
In a recent Senate hearing,
NTC officials announced that the commission will begin monitoring this
September the Internet speed being provided by telcos and compare
these with their advertised speed.
According to NTC officials,
the move was part of government efforts to address the problem of slow
Internet in the country.
“Internet speed monitoring,
at best, can only be a measure against deceptive or misleading
advertising, but it would not result in faster and cheaper Internet,”
“When the NTC confirms what
millions of subscribers have been saying, what then? This is why they
need to go further and find ways to force telcos to address the
problem by building better network infrastructures,” the senator said.
The latest household
download index report by global Internet provider Ookla ranked the
Philippines 21st out of 22 countries in Asia in terms of Internet
speed, trailed only by Afghanistan. It has a household download speed
of 3.64 Megabits per second (Mbps); top-ranked Singapore has a
broadband speed of 122.43 Mbps and Hong Kong clocked in with 102.96
Even with such poor service,
the Philippines is tagged as having one of the most expensive Internet
services in the world.
pinning of ranks to the newly promoted personnel
By DPAO, 8ID PA
September 12, 2015
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army
conducted the pinning of ranks to the newly promoted personnel of the
Command during the flag retreat ceremony held at Openiano field on
September 11, 2015.
Major General Jet B.
Velarmino, Commander of 8ID, Col. Divino Rey C. Pabayo Jr., Chief of
Staff and Lt. Col. Noel A. Vestuir, Assistant Chief of Staff for
Personnel together with the military dependents led the pinning of
ranks to the men and women of this Command who have satisfactorily
satisfied the requirements set by the Philippine Army's Promotion
It can be recalled that at
least 1,233 personnel were promoted effective August this year wherein
433 of which are Corporals, 334 Sergeants, 358 Staff Sergeants, 71
Technical Sergeants and 27 Master Sergeants.
Candidates were selected
after looking into their Individual Evaluation record which gauged a
soldier’s competency and reputation in the service. Other requirements
which were satisfied include required minimum number of years in one's
current rank, passing grade on a competitive promotional examination,
completion of a career military occupational specialty course,
physical and Neurological-Psychological examination and Physical
Fitness Test (PFT).
Field units under this
Command are also scheduled to conduct the same activity which
symbolizes the rich military custom and tradition wherein the officers
pin new collar chevrons on the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) of the
promoted soldiers as the promotion orders are being read while in
Major General Jet B.
Velarmino, 8ID Commander, congratulated the newly promoted soldiers as
well as their families as it is expected for them to perform their
best in every endeavor as they gain more responsibilities, and be
thankful for the Father Almighty for the blessing bestowed upon the
personnel of this Command for the hard work and dedication they have
exerted through the years of service in the country.
rural areas, provinces to solve traffic woes in MM
By Office of the Senate
September 11, 2015
PASAY CITY – "The
solution to Metro Manila traffic problem is not to build more
infrastructure INSIDE NCR, but to build more OUTSIDE the city."
This is Senate Majority
Leader Alan Peter Cayetano's proposition amid the looming congestion
problem affecting millions of residents, motorists and commuters in
the metropolis daily.
Cayetano contends that the
best way to relieve traffic jams in Metro Manila is to start
allocating more funds that will kick start the development of local
economies in provinces outside the National Capital Region (NCR).
He says he is set to file a
bill seeking to establish a Philippine Decentralization Committee (PDC),
which will study and determine specific programs aimed at enhancing
the delivery of goods and services in the countryside, including the
relocation of several agencies to other regions.
For instance, Cayetano
suggested that the Department of Labor and Employment be transferred
to the Ilocos Region (Region I), which had the second highest
unemployment rate in 2015, and the Tourism department to tourist haven
Cebu in Central Visayas (Region VII). While the Department of Energy,
he envisions, can be relocated to the CARAGA Region (Region XIII),
known for its abundant renewable energy sources.
He is also advocating the
establishment of a reliable and efficient Luzon-wide transportation
system, which will pave the way for the construction of an integrated
railway system, high-standard highways, and strategically-located
airports, seaports, and land transport stations in provinces all over
"I pushed for a long-term
and a more feasible solution and that is to create alternative
corridors of development outside NCR. This will not only resolve
traffic jams in the already overcrowded capital, but will also extend
growth throughout the rest of the country," the senator said.
In an effort to manage the
heavy traffic situation in Manila, President Benigno Aquino III has
recently designated the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol
Group (PNP-HPG) to lead the enforcement of traffic rules and ease the
congestion in six “choke points” along the Epifanio Delos Santos Ave.
ES Ochoa presents
OP budget for FY 2016 to Congress
September 10, 2015
MALACANANG, Manila –
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. told the House of
Representatives on Thursday that the Office of the President (OP) was
increasing its spending plan for Fiscal Year 2016 by 10 percent due to
higher funding requirement for personnel services and capital outlays.
Appearing before the House
Committee on Appropriations, Ochoa presented the proposed P2.825
billion budget plan of the OP, up P258.0 million from the 2015
allocation of P2.567 billion.
Specifically, the proposed
funding for OP’s Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) is
higher by 2 percent, or P46.6 million, to P1.957 billion, from the
current year’s appropriation.
The provision for Capital
Outlay (CO), meanwhile, has been raised to P96.9 million, by 76.9
million, for 2016 to fund continuing improvements being undertaken
within the OP facilities.
The proposed budget for
Personnel Services (PS) is higher by 21 percent, or P134.67 million,
to P771.67 million, compared to the previous spending package, in
order to meet the actual salaries and other compensation benefits of
all OP personnel as of December 31, 2014, including retirement and
life insurance premiums.
When broken down to reflect
the output and activities of the office, 71 percent of the
P2.825-billion budget would be earmarked for operations, while 29
percent for general administration and support services, according to
The OP provides executive,
technical and management services, advisory services, legal services
and Presidential Executive Staff services to the President of the
country in the exercise of his functions as head of state, chief
executive and commander-in-chief.
Under Executive Order No.
292, the OP consists of the OP-Proper and bodies under the
chairmanship of the President, other executive offices, and
government-owned and -controlled corporations under it.
The OP-Proper includes the
Private Office, Executive Office, Common Staff Support System and the
Presidential Assistant/Advisers System.